A Christmas classic is coming to Nakusp this weekend— and it’s wrapped up in an old-fashioned holiday homecoming.
“It’s really one of those things you have to see to be believe,” says Cameron Gordon, who plays the lead in the Reader’s Theater production of A Christmas Carol.
Everyone knows the story by Charles Dickens- of Scrooge, and Bob Cratchit, and the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future. It’s been a sell-out favourite since Dickens first wrote the story in a six-week blitz in the 1840s. While it’s been adapted in a hundred ways, on film, in print, and radio- the performance in Nakusp this weekend takes audiences back to the very first way it was produced.
“Dickens did readings when he first wrote the story to promote it,” says Gordon. “It got more and more ornate over the years. He had actors who would come onstage, and perform the characters parts.
“So it’s a play, but it’s read. There are actors with music stands. The actors become the characters right in front of the audience.”
Gordon says the two actors he’s performing with, Derek Losoncy and Sarah Haggeman, do a fabulous job bringing the story to life.
“I play Scrooge — I’m a ‘one-note Johnny’,” he says. “These two actors play every other character, it’s so fun to watch.
“They’ll step away from the podium, turn around, take a scarf and hat from the prop table, and come back to the podium as Bob Cratchit, or Scrooge’s nephew, or a Ghost,” he says. “It’s a dramatic reading, and after a while you forget they’re reading a story, you get so caught up in the imagery.”
The Reader’s Theatre has been performing the show in schools and auditoriums in Calgary and area this season, but this show in Nakusp holds special meaning for Gordon. An alumni of Nakusp Secondary, he last performed in the Arena Auditorium in a high school production.
“Its one of those things I’ve always wanted to do, come back and act,” said Gordon, who has appeared in The Beachcombers television show and has several movie credits to his name. “As a professional actor something you always want to do is bring a production back to your old home town.”
Gordon still has connections to the area. His partner’s parents farm north of Nakusp, and he plans to spend the holidays here when this production wraps up just before Christmas.
But before that homecoming, the show is still on the road, reminding us of what the season really is about.
Dickens, Gordon points out, really invented our modern conception of Christmas- a holiday that was frowned upon in the dour early half of the 19th century. Dickens reminded his audiences there was more to life than money and commerce and seriousness.
“It’s a wonderful show. The concept behind it is to sit back forget about your woes, and get into the Christmas spirit, and there’s nothing like A Christmas Carol to remind us about the true meaning of Christmas.”
“Our hope is everyone from town comes out,” he says. “The play is designed for the whole family. It’s great for kids — ages 6 or 7 would be fine, right on up to young-at-hearts —people into the 100s.”
Tickets for A Christmas Carol are on sale at Arkay Computers or online at www. worldswithin.org/achristmascarol.
“We really encourage people to pick up their tickets in advance, it really helps us understand our numbers and audience,” says Gordon.